David Cameron insisted he had a clear mandate to govern all of the United Kingdom when he visited the devolved Scottish parliament on Friday – even though the Conservatives only won one out of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster.
The prime minister said the combined vote of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – who won 11 Scottish seats – was a bigger share of the overall vote than the Scottish National party won in 2007, when it formed its minority government at Holyrood.
But Mr Cameron said: “I do believe the Conservatives particularly have to work hard to win the trust of the people of Scotland – that’s why I’m here.”
The prime minister said he wanted to pursue the agenda of the Calman Commission, which recommended greater fiscal autonomy and more powers for Scotland.
“I think that is right, and what we want to put it in place,” he said.
Mr Cameron met Alex Salmond, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party, after his visit to Holyrood .
The prime minister said he was “open to all the arguments” from Mr Salmond, who had promised to seek more funding and powers for Scotland.
But Mr Cameron called for a “fresh start” in relations between the Scottish and UK governments, saying he wanted for an “agenda of respect” between the Westminster and Edinburgh parliaments.
The prime minister also insisted it was essential to proceed with cutting the UK’s budget deficit.
“The governor of the Bank of England this week gave the clearest possible sign that the dangers of inaction were much greater than the danger of action,” said Mr Cameron.
“He said substantial action, and some early action, was essential. The advice from the Treasury seems to be the same: that is why action should be proceeded with. But we have already agreed – before the election – that the Scottish government could delay that process and stick to its original budget this year. That is a good example of the respect agenda in action.”
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